New Estonian language law brings additional obligations for entrepreneurs in Estonia
New Estonian Language Act that was enforced on July 1, 2011 sets additional requirements for entrepreneurs in Estonia and has caused a lot of confusion and discussion among entrepreneurs. New act provides new requirements for information that entrepreneurs spread in public for consumers.
According to new law signs, signposts, type of the undertaking, outdoor advertisments and notices of legal persons that are placed in the public place shall be in Estonian. It is allowed to add the translations of the text in foreign language, however the text in Estonian must have precedence and cannot be less visible than text in foreign language.
New law also provides requirements for public use of trademarks in Estonia. While using trademark as mark of the persons place of business or in outdoor advertisement it is required that part of the trademark that is in foreign language and gives important information about place of business or about offered goods and services shall be given also in Estonian language. Estonian language does not have to be precedence in this case and it is not required that translations of the trademarks must be with same design. Also it is allwoed to put information about trademark in Estonian near the entrance.
New law also enacts requirements for webages that are addressed to publicity. If entrepreneur registered in Estonia has webpage in foreign language and it is addressed to publicity then webpage has to include at least summary about field of business or offered goods and services in Estonian language. Furthermore, it is required that seals, rubber stamps and letter-heads used in public communication shall be in Estonian. It is allowed to add translations in foreign language and in case of international communication to use letter-head in foreign language.
Important regulation is also requirement that employment contract and contracts that are not related to economic or professional activities of other party, also contract for providing public services, shall be in Estonian. This requirement does not apply when parties agree to conclude an agreement in other language.
Violation of language requirements in Estonia by entrepreneur is punishable by a fine up to 1300 EUR.
Tax Attorney & Founding Partner
Gencs Valters Law Firm, Riga
T: +371 67 24 00 90